Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said Fine Gael recognises and respects the Fianna Fail decision on confidence and supply to support a minority government when other parties ran away from talks.

He was speaking after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the Government's failure to inform his party of cost overruns at the National Children's hospital was a "breach" of the confidence and supply agreement.

He said there would be "further discussions" about this issue.

Speaking on the RTÉ's The Week in Politics, Mr Murphy said the confidence and supply deal is not a perfect arrangement and is new to Irish politics.

But, he said, as a result of it there has been stability at a dangerous time for Ireland during Brexit negotiations.

Mr Murphy said his party does not want a general election until at least 2020.

Speaking on the same programme, Mr Martin said "we need maturity in our politics, an election every two years is not good".

Mr Martin said the Government  did not live up to the confidence and supply agreement in relation to sharing figures on the children's hospital and it was a breach of their agreement.

Mr Martin denied his party is running scared of an election, saying he is too experienced a politician to allow the "Taoiseach's goading" to make him change his political decisions.

The Fianna Fáil leader added that his party "could pull down" Government every six months on an issue, "but the Brexit issue did trump everything and does trump everything, because of the existential threat to some sectors of our economy". 

Mr Martin described the confidence and supply arrangement the party has with Government as "difficult", but said it was his sense from the general public that they want "some degree of maturity from politicians and political parties."

He added that people "want political parties to put their country first".

He said he believed there was "no question" that an extension to Article 50 "is better than a no-deal Brexit". 

In respect of preparations for a no-deal Brexit he said that is a function of the Executive of the Government but he would have liked to have had the legislation prepared earlier. 

"We haven't got clarity on the border from the Government if there's a no-deal Brexit," he said.

Mr Martin said it was Fianna Fáil's view that "every effort should be made to get costs down", regarding the new children's hospital. 

He said there were issues around continuing costs and he believed "we haven't got the full story" about capital costs and the current operational budgets of the hospital. 

Mr Martin said the controversy has been "deeply dismaying" for the general public, who he said were angry and worried about projects around the country being delayed as a result of the cost over run at the hospital. 

Last night, Mr Martin told his party's Ard Fheis in Dublin that the party only extended its confidence and supply deal with the Government because playing politics with Brexit could mean fewer jobs and lower salaries.

Mr Martin used much of his speech to confront the discomfort being felt by many Fianna Fáil supporters over the renewal of the confidence and supply deal.

Brexit, he said, was a genuinely historic threat because a chaotic UK departure from the EU could lead to "severe and swift" consequences such as fewer jobs, lower salaries, less money for schools, hospitals and pensions.    

But he asserted it was the right decision. 

Fianna Fáil needed to provide real leadership, he said, and an election had to be avoided given this was a moment of great threat.  

He said: "It's a difficult decision for us, but it's the right decision and it reinforces the fact that Fianna Fail is putting the national interest first." 

Delegates gave him a sustained round of applause - suggesting they backed his approach. 

However, delegates said throughout the day that such support was conditional on Brexit continuing to pose a challenge.  

Many delegates said that once that threat was overcome, then the reason for the continuation of confidence-and-supply would have evaporated.